Visualise helps Medicins Sans Frontieres highlight plight of refugees using Virtual Reality

Doctors Without Borders Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has released a powerful film documenting the realities of the global refugee crisis, produced with VR studio Visualise.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

London-based virtual reality production studio Visualise has partnered with Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to create 360 degrees virtual reality documentaries telling the individual story of 65.3 million people forcibly displaced worldwide.

MSF is an international, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, and exclusion from health care.

"Forced From Home" will travel from New York to Washington D.C., Boston, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia this Autumn.

This touring exhibit places the general public, from all over the US, in refugee camps, treacherous seas, and the lengthy and dangerous migratory routes, in which people uprooted by war or persecution find themselves today.

Guided by MSF aid workers, visitors will also have the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from the field and view materials gathered from refugee camps, rescue missions, and emergency medical projects.

Its objective is to use VR to create an empathetic connection between the viewer and a refugee. It wants visitors to fully understand the trials and challenges of life as a migrant, displaced from their homes and the unique requirements of the lives of people on the move.

Visitors enter a 30-foot-diameter Igloo dome to view a projected, immersive 360-degree film, produced by Visualise and MSF-USA.

The dome video will transport them to Greece, Tanzania, Mexico, South Sudan, Iraq, and Lebanon, all countries dealing with migration, displacement, or refugee crisis.

They will then be taken through six scenarios focusing on the cause of displacement, the journey to safety, the legal status of displaced persons, basic needs and medical requirements among people on the move, and issues surrounding shelter and housing.

Due to the complexity of the six different country locations, and multiple camps within each location, the Visualise production team was scaled down. The team consisted of a Director/Camera Operator and 360 Sound Recordist accompanied by a MSF Field Producer.

An agile camera system was used to film the documentaries and ambisonic microphones to record directional sound that moves as the viewer looks around.

The result is a series of interviews and matching scenes that offer a glimpse into the daily struggles faced everyday by those living in refugee camps and displacement settings around the world.

Michael Goldfarb, MSF-USA's director of communications said: "People fleeing for their lives are often reduced to numbers and statistics.

But through Visualise's work and their immersive 360 video content, we will put a human face on those staggering numbers, giving the public a real sense of what it looks like, feels like, and what it means, to be forced from home."

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